Matthew Harris was born in 1980, in Maryland. He served a traditional 4 year apprenticeship with Master blacksmith Alphonsus Moolenschot, who was born and trained in the Netherlends. After completing his apprenticeship with Mr. Moolenschot in 2000, Matthew went on to work in several architectural metalwork and industrial forging shops. He also studied art and business at Cecil College.
Since 2005, he has owned and operated Harris Metalsmith Studio located in Perryville, MD. Matthew oversees the design, fabrication, and installation of all the custom fencing, gates, sculptures, and metalwork that the studio creates. His specialty is hot forging one of a kind forms, textures, and elements. He has built a unique and impressive mix of industrial forging equipment and cranes to accomplish this work.
Matthew's work is found in many businesses, homes, and public spaces. Currently he is working on several large architectural fencing and railing commissions as well as a series of forged sculptures.
Heidi Harris is the office manager and oversees the studio workflow details. She joined the studio in 2015, strengthening the company with her skills in business administration and office organization. She assists Matthew in planning sculpture exhibitions of his work and also oversees the many logistics of their architectural projects.
Heidi and Matthew have been happily married for over 15 years and have 4 beautiful children. Their children love spending time with them at the office or studio and enjoy helping whenever they can.
Ron Harris enjoys the unique opportunity of working with his son Matthew Harris. In 2008, he began his metalworking career with Matthew on a pair of driveway gates. A background in decoy carving enabled him to make an easy transition into forming with metal. One commission presented him with the challenge of creating a bufflehead duck head out of a solid piece of metal. Ron's expertise in such matters has made him invaluable to the team. He is looking forward to many more years working with his son.
Maxine Harris joined the studio during a large scale copper repousse' project. She is proficient in sheet metal forming of non ferrous metals. She also helps facilitate all of our special events, including our PIF Hammer-In, held every October. She is a vibrant mother and grandmother and enjoys canning, quilting, and many other crafts in her spare time.
Andrew VanDyke has been a valuable part of our team for 4 years. He began as an apprentice to Matthew Harris and quickly evolved into a talented and skilled craftsman. His artistic sensibilities are a natural fit into the studio. On large scale projects, he oversees much of the production forging of elements. He is a skilled fabricator with a keen eye for detail. Andrew is also a talented musician, songwriter and is in the process of recording an album.
Jared Benicky recently joined the team as an apprentice to Matthew Harris. He is quickly learning the art and craft of blacksmithing. Jared is a skilled musician and a talented sound engineer with a degree in audio engineering from the Shefield Institute.
Gracie has served the studio as head of security for the past 5 years. She also specializes in making everyone's day a bit brighter. She is an avid fan of bacon and flavored treats.